IAR - Participate in Research

Advances in the understanding and treatment of autism and related developmental disorders are dependent on sound research. Faculty at the IAR are dedicated to conducting rigorous studies that shed light on key aspects of the disorders and identify effective treatments and educational programming that maximizes the quality of life of those affected and their families. If you are interested in participating in research, please consider one of the projects listed below. These projects are currently accepting applications.

So Fit: A Group Social and Fitness-based Intervention

Pilot Study for 7-12 year old autistic children without Intellectual Disability

Traditional social interventions for autistic children without Intellectual Disability (ID) are typically sedentary and carry no physical benefits, and exercise-based interventions have yielded some physical benefits but their social impacts have been small due to the lack of teaching and reinforcing of social skills and behaviors.  The IAR has developed what we believe to be an innovative social and fitness-based intervention for autistic children without ID that teaches and reinforces social skills/behaviors and motor/physical performance skills that are necessary for success in group and recreational settings.  Our initial testing of So Fit indicated significant improvements in the children's social skills, autistic features, and physical performance and we are now looking to continue our evaluation of So Fit.  

So Fit will be conducted in groups of 9 autistic children without ID, ages 7-12 years old.  The program will run for 10 weeks and includes two 75-minute sessions per week. The two sessions will be conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:15 PM to 5:30 PM from Tuesday, May  21st through Tuesday, July 30th.  There will not be a session on Thursday, July 4th

Each session includes social skills and motor skills instruction and practice followed by a group exercise-based recreational activity in which the children engage in cooperative physical active games with other children and are reinforced for using the targeted social and motor skills.  The children will be evaluated just before the program starts and at the end of the 10-week program to assess the program's effectiveness.  

There will be three parent education sessions so that parents will know what their child is working on and can help their child generalize skills from the program into their home and community settings.  

The tuition for the 20-session So Fit program is $1000 (i.e., $50/session).  Please note that a sliding scale is available for families in need based on family income level. Families seeking financial assistance should contact Dr. Thomeer and will be asked to submit documentation of income level.  

To apply, please submit the following information:

  • Documentation of Diagnosis/Prior Evaluation reports (psychological, psychiatric, and/or speech and language reports)
  • Family Information Form (required) – please print, complete, and submit
  • Most recent IEP or 504 Plan (if child receives special education services)

Please send, fax or email this information to:

So Fit
Institute for Autism Research
Canisius University
2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14208
Fax Number: (716) 888-8540
Email: @email

Any questions, please contact Dr. Thomeer at @email or 716-888-2800.